House passes 90 percent tax on AIG bonuses

With almost half of the Republican caucus crossing the aisle, supporters of the measure won easily.


Alex Koppelman
March 19, 2009 11:00PM (UTC)

Well, House Democrats had the votes to pass a bill instituting a 90 percent tax on the bonuses paid out by AIG recently after all. It was a landslide, in fact, with 328 members (about 75 percent of the entire House) voting in favor.

87 Republicans -- a plurality of the GOP conference -- did end up opposing the bill. But 85 of their colleagues crossed the aisle to vote with the Democrats. Six didn't vote.

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The Democratic side of the chamber was more unified, with 243 members supporting the bill, six voting "nay" and five not voting.

The bill isn't just targeted at AIG; such a law would most likely run afoul of the Constitution's prohibition on bills of attainder. Instead, it applies to any employees making more than $250,000 a year and working at any corporation that's received at least $5 billion in bailout money.

Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, have proposed a 75 percent tax on the bonuses. It remains to be seen which version will ultimately pass the full Congress.

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Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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